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The Home Depot

In-Ground Pool Material Options

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Pool and Hot Tub > In-Ground Pool Material Options
In-Ground Pool Material Options

Everyone in your family is very excited about the new pool that will be constructed in your backyard. You’ve found a reputable and responsible builder, but they can’t get started just yet. You’ve not decided what type of in-ground pool you want them to install: vinyl, fiberglass or gunite.


Let’s see if we can help you narrow-down your choices.

  1. 1.Vinyl

    Fiberglass pools have undergone significant improvements in the past decade.

    Living in a colder part of the country, you might want to make vinyl your top choice. The reason for the preference is because it’s fairly easy to winterize a pool made from this type of material. When autumn comes, you’ll just need to drain your pool and tie-down its cover.


    The three reasons to consider vinyl are:

    • It’s easy to clean. The surface makes it tough for bacteria and algae to stick.
    • It costs less. Vinyl is not a wallet-buster.
    • It feels softer. The way a vinyl pool is constructed, there’s more give to it than concrete. On the earth-side of the liner there is a dry pack of cement-based material, which is softer than synthetic stone.

    The downside to vinyl is that the liner needs to undergo replacement about 10-years into its lifetime. Usually the manufacturer gives the owner something like a 25-year warranty. The catch is that the warranty is prorated.


    So, let’s say the liner is 7-years old. You need to replace it. Expect to pay about 10% of the original cost. It all adds up. It’ll cost upwards of $500 for a replacement. Then you have to refill the thing. What if someone has a sharp object in the pool and punctures the liner? Most likely you’re going to need a pro to patch that scratch.

  2. 2.Fiberglass

    Fiberglass pools have undergone significant improvements in the past decade. The plusses with installing an in-ground fiberglass model are:

    • • These types of pools are quick to put in.
    • • When compared to vinyl pools, fiberglass has a more finished look.
    • • You can get a variety of finishing options.
    • • You can get a fiberglass pool in lots of different sizes and shapes.
    • • The warranties for fiberglass pools are fairly good from the owner’s point-of-view.

    A drawback to a fiberglass pool is that it comes sandwiched between vinyl and gunite. Vinyl is cheaper, gunite is more durable.

  3. 3.Gunite

    Gunite pools are the top of the line when it comes to an in-ground pool. They are expensive, but the pool itself will last the longest of the three choices. They can be built virtually any way you can imagine. And because of their foundational strength, you can add streams and waterfalls to further increase eye appeal. Other top points in favor of a gunite in-ground pool are:

    • • You can add creative features like tanning ledges, underwater benches and barstools.
    • • You’ll be able to incorporate interesting finishes like Pebble Tec.
    • • If you have a terrain challenge or a small space to house your pool, gunite pools add flexibility in design and installation.
    • • Warranty-wise, a gunite pool has a much longer one that its other two counterparts.

    There are two major disadvantages if you decide to go the way of gunite: Cost and a long installation process. But if you’re building for beauty, longevity and an increase in your home’s value, this pool’s for you.

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